Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric, Cardinal George Pell, has been interviewed by Victoria Police detectives over historic child sex abuse allegations.
In a statement, Victoria Police on Wednesday confirmed to ABC News that “three members of Victoria Police travelled to Rome last week where Cardinal Pell voluntarily participated in an interview regarding allegations of sexual assault.”
“As a result of the interview further investigations are continuing. We are not prepared to comment further at this time,” the statement added.
The ABC revealed the allegations on July 27, with complainants Lyndon Monument and Damian Dignan interviewed on a programme about alleged inappropriate touching at Ballarat’s Eureka pool in the 1970s.
Monument and Dignan alleged the Cardinal repeatedly touched their private parts while playing a game in the pool, where he would throw them and other boys up into the air.
But the wife of a former manager of the pool said she never saw Cardinal Pell display any behaviour that concerned her.
Another man, Torquay resident Les Tyack, had also made a complaint to Taskforce SANO about Cardinal Pell allegedly standing naked in a change room in front of boys at the Torquay Surf Life Saving Club in the 1980s.
The programme also revealed there were complaints relating to the Cardinal’s time as Archbishop of Melbourne about his conduct with choirboys at St Patrick’s cathedral in the 1990s.
Cardinal Pell has denied the accusations which remain untested, and accused the ABC of mounting a smear campaign against him.
The Cardinal’s office released a statement on Wednesday repeating his July rejection of “all and every allegation of sexual abuse”.
“(The Cardinal) will continue to cooperate with Victoria Police until the investigation is finalised. The Cardinal has no further comment at this time,” it said.